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University Policies

Academic Grievances and Complaints

Students are free to speak with professors to express concerns about final grades. A student may speak to his instructor if s/he thinks they have been graded inappropriately on an assignment or exam or given a final course grade that is inappropriate. If the student thinks the instructor decision is dissatisfying, s/he may express in writing a grievance to the dean. If the complaint is against the dean, the student may submit an appeal directly to the Chief Executive Officer.

Students will not be subjected to any unfair actions as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.

Submitting an Inquiry/Complaint to the Office of the Chief Executive Officer

When the Office of the CEO receives a formal letter of inquiry/complaint, the CEO will convene an Administrative Hearing Committee to consider the inquiry/complaint. The Committee will meet to discuss the written grievance and analyze all the facts submitted. A written notification of the decision should be sent to the student and the dean within 30 days from filing the inquiry. The office of the Dean will keep a record of all student complaints and documentation of how they were handled. The decision of the CEO is final.

Non-Academic Grievance Policy

Agora University takes all complaints very seriously. All grievances are treated with confidentiality, including those affiliated with bullying, physical harassment, illegitimate discrimination of race and religion, and any vilification made by students.

NOTE: These complaints may be formal or informal, where formal complaints are communicated in writing and an informal complaint is one considered to be unwritten.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to assaults, inappropriate touching, comments, a written communication; expressing sexual interest or requesting sexual favors; after being informed that the interest is unwelcome, requests for employment decisions, academic evaluation, grades or advancement, or other decisions affecting participation in a University program (quid pro quo), or when such conduct creates a hostile working environment. When complaints address the matter of sexual harassment, the university will allocate 60 days to investigate the matter.

Registering a Complaint

Option One: The complainant may initially raise an informal complaint (unwritten) with the appropriate university official (regularly, the Registrar). Following receipt of the informal complaint, the issue will be reviewed by the Dean within three (3) business days and a response will be provided to the complainant within five (5) business days. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Dean may choose to meet with the CEO to gain further information and resolution of the complaint raised. The Registrar will raise the complaint directly with the Dean if the complaint is perceived to be of an extreme, threatening, or criminal nature.

Option Two: In the event that the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she may submit a formal complaint in writing. As an alternative to the Option One informal complaint, the complainant may opt to go directly to the formal second stage. The formal written complaint must be received by the Registrar within 10 business days of the complainant receiving feedback. The formal complaint will be reviewed and addressed within three (3) business days and a response will be provided to the complainant within five (5) business days. If not satisfied with the decision of the Registrar, the complainant may submit the complaint in writing to the Dean within 10 business days of receipt of the formal complaint decision. The complaint will be addressed within 15 business days of receipt of the complaint, and a response will be given within 30 business days. Complaints should be resolved within 30 days of the initial date of response from the Dean.
Agora University – Student Handbook Page 5-25

Students will not be subjected to any unfair actions as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.
In addition,  students may contact our accrediting agency, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, 

Address: 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, DC. 20036. Phone: 202-234-5100, 

Email: info@deac.org. 

Website: www.deac.org.

Agora University faculty strive to hold amenability to ensure academic honesty in their classes and student share this responsibility. Agora University students are required to refrain from all acts of academic dishonesty.

Procedures for Dealing with Violations of Academic Dishonesty

Actions taken by a faculty member who has evidence that a student has committed an act of academic dishonesty, shall, after speaking with the student, take one or more of the following disciplinary actions:

  • Issue an oral reprimand.
  • Give the student an “F” grade or zero points or a reduced number of points on all or part ofa particular paper, project or examination.

If the act of academic dishonesty results in a “F” grade or zero points being awarded to the student for that particular paper, project, or examination, and this result affects the student’s overall grade in the class, then the student shall be issued the proper grade, as affected by the specific “F” or zero grade, by the faculty member. Any incident of alleged academic dishonesty in the instructor’s grading of an F or zero points – the instructor shall investigate if there has been any misconduct by the student and decided to proceed and reported to the Dean. If the Academic Dean notes that multiple Academic Dishonesty Reports have been filed for particular students, from multiple instructors, however, then the Dean shall seek the suspension of the student for one full calendar year. If, upon this student’s return from the one-year suspension, the Dean receives any further reports of academic dishonesty concerning this student, the Dean shall recommend the student be expelled permanently. The Dean shall keep the faculty member and Division Dean reasonably informed of the status of the student discipline process and outcome.

Examples of Violations of Identity Fraud

  • Taking an examination for another student or having someone else take an examination for one-self.
  • Having another person or a company do research and/or writing of a report.
  • Obtaining answers from another student before or during an examination.
  • Knowingly allowing another student to copy one’s work.
  • Sharing answers for a take-home or on-line examination unless otherwise authorized by the instructor.
  • Receiving help in creating a speech, essay, report, project or paper unless otherwise authorized by the instructor.
  • Turning in a speech, essay, report, project or paper done for one class to another class unless specifically authorized by the instructor of the second class.
  • Offering another person’s work as one’s own: copying a speech, essay, report, discussion board posting, project or paper from another person or from books, websites, or other sources.
  • Using outside sources (books, or other written sources) without giving proper credit (by naming the person and putting any exact words in quotation marks).

Examples of Violations of Academic Dishonesty

Examples of academic dishonesty conduct warranting the imposition of disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Altering a graded examination/assignment and returning it for additional credit.
  • Stealing or attempting to steal an examination or answer key.
  • Printing an online exam without the express authorization of the instructor.
  • Stealing or attempting to change official academic records.
  • Forging or altering grades.
  • Falsely reporting or claiming to have experienced technical difficulties with online instructional tests, quizzes, or assignments.
  • Using unauthorized materials, such as notebooks, or other items, without the instructor’s consent during an examination or placement test.
  • Misreporting or altering the data in research projects.
  • Intentionally impairing the performance of other students and/or a faculty member.
  • Collusion – when any student knowingly or intentionally helps another student perform an act of academic dishonesty. Collusion in an act of academic dishonesty will be disciplined in the same manner as the act itself.

Agora offers several programs. Students may proceed from any of the Certificate Programs toward the Master of Theological Studies – Maintaining Satisfactory Progress.

Maintaining Satisfactory Progress

Since all coursework for a Master of Theological Studies degree must be completed within two years, and 9 courses are required, Regular students who want to obtain a degree should plan on taking at least six courses per year. For all Certificate Programs, students should plan on taking at least four courses per year. Since a GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation, you should aim for a grade of B or better in all of your classes. Most courses require you to log in to the website at least once or twice a week, either to participate in a forum or to submit a written assignment.

Incompletes

A student will be given an Incomplete grade when all the following conditions apply:

  • whenever required course work is missing,
  • when that missing work would result in the student receiving a lower final grade, and
  • when the student has formally requested an extension.

In all other cases, a student should receive a grading letter with the outstanding work counted as “zero” or “fail”. If the extension is granted, according to arrangement with the instructor all incomplete work must be completed in consultation within three weeks after the final paper is due. Grade of “W” should be granted if the student has any health or personal crisis. Students cannot register for more courses if they have an incomplete.

Withdrawing from Courses

Courses may be dropped any time prior to the due date of the final examination or paper. These requests should be conveyed in writing to the Registrar and the instructor(s).

Agora University – Student Handbook Page 5-27
If a student drops a course before the seventh week, a grade of W will be assigned whether or not the student is passing. If the withdrawal is initiated after materials have been posted for the seventh week of the semester, a mark of W for Withdrawal will be assigned if the instructor informs the Registrar that the student had a passing grade at the date of the official withdrawal. A mark of F will be assigned if 1) the student is failing at the time of withdrawal and 2) the student withdraws after the seventh lecture is posted.

Agora University certifies that students who cancel after paying in full, but are not eligible for a refund, receive all materials, kits, and equipment, as applicable.

Course Re-Takes

We do not allow students to take an examination again. We do allow students to take a course again (if they pay the tuition again), and only the highest grade is then counted in the GPA.

Academic Leave of Absence

If health or other unforeseen circumstances make it impossible for you to continue your studies for six months or more, please contact the Registrar for a leave of absence. No charge will be added, and it will extend the duration of completing your degree. The granting of a leave of absence indicates a continuing relationship with the University and allows students to resume studies at a specific time without reapplying for admission to the University. A personal leave of absence does not exceed two semesters in length, a military service leave is for the duration of the assignment on active duty, and a study leave of absence does not exceed four semesters in length. 


Types and Regulations of a Leave of Absence 

1. Personal Leave: for students who plan to take leave for one or a maximum of two semesters for personal reasons (health, financial, work-related, etc.). 
2. Military Service Leave: for students who are called to active duty with the Military. Students may leave for the duration of their military assignment in active duty. 
3. Study Leave: for students who are planning to take specialized pre-approved courses at another accredited institution to supplement their studies or satisfy other academic requirements of Agora University. The duration of this leave of absence is determined and pre-approved by the Dean and cannot exceed two semesters for a master’s program and cannot exceed four semesters for the doctoral program.

Academic Probation

A GPA of at least 3.0 is required for the degree. Students are not put on academic probation when their GPA falls below 3.0. A student placed on academic probation means that the student is warned with academic disqualification. A student who has not achieved both a term and cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher at the close of a semester will be placed on academic probation. The student will be notified of this probationary status.

Academic Dismissal 

A student becomes academically disqualified or dismissed and may not continue enrollment under any of the following conditions:
1. A student fails six or more hours of coursework in any given year. 
2. A student on academic probation fails to achieve both a term and cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher.
The student will be notified within one week of any dismissal. The Dean may waive academic dismissal if individual circumstances warrant such action.

Appeal of Dismissal

A student who becomes dismissed may appeal the dismissal by filing an appeal to the Registrar within two weeks of the date of notification of dismissal. After the appeal has been considered by the Dean, the Registrar will notify the student of the decision. Once this decision has been made, no further appeal is allowed. 

Dismissed students are not eligible for readmission until at least three semesters have elapsed. If readmitted, the student will be on academic probation and will be expected to satisfy the requirements for removal from probation by the end of the term.

Student Achievement and Satisfaction

Student Achievement and Satisfaction rates have maintained a range of 7 to 10 points out of a maximum of 10 points. Lower numbers have seen a noticeable increase from a 7.65 to above 8.5 in 2022.

Institutional retention rate:

Cohort 2016 Retention Rate was 100% and Student Graduation Rate 100%.
Cohort 2017 Retention Rate was 100% and Student Graduation Rate 100%.
Cohort 2018 No Admissions.
Cohort 2019 Retention Rate was 90%. Graduation Rate 75%.
Cohort 2020 Retention Rate was 100%. Still in Session.

Cohort 2021 Retention Rate was 100%. Still in Session.

Cohort 2022 Retention Rate was 95.55%. Still in Session.

Institutional performance data as reported on the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard (if available for Title IV institutions)

N/A

Institutional performance data as reported to comply with a state disclosure requirement (e.g.,California BPPE placement rate disclosures)?
N/A

Institutional data on undergraduates accepted into accredited graduate programs (to include a frame of reference as determined by the institution)?
N/A

Institutional data on graduates who advance in their profession?
N/A

Total number of graduates by program?

Cohort 2016 Student Graduation Rate 100%.
Cohort 2017 Student Graduation Rate 100%.
Cohort 2019 Graduation Rate 75%.

  • Charges may be refunded if a student cancels their enrollment or withdraws from a course. Cancellation or withdrawal requests should be made in writing by sending an email to the Registrar at registrar@agora.edu. Refunds will be issued using the same method of payment within 30 days from the date the University receives the student’s withdrawal request. No tuition refunds will be issued if a student has not submitted a cancellation/withdrawal request. Tuition and fees cannot be carried over to the next semester.
  • A student requesting cancellation of their enrollment within 7 calendar days after signing an enrollment agreement is entitled to a full refund of all tuition and fees paid except the Application Fee.
  • A student requesting cancellation more than 7 calendar days after signing an enrollment agreement, but prior to beginning a course, is entitled to a refund of all tuition and fees paid minus: (i) the application fee and (ii) the library fee.
  • A student requesting to withdraw from a course after the course has begun is eligible for a refund of tuition and fees paid in accordance to the schedule in section 3.2.5.
  • Agora University will issue a full refund of the tuition charges for courses that have been canceled by the University.

Agora University is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards and to upholding the public’s trust. We recognize that our behavior affects not only our own individual reputation, but also that of Agora University. Accordingly, this Code of Ethics forms the ethical principles that will guide all members of the university community in all decisions and activities. These principles are:

Respect: We will nurture a climate of care, concern, fairness, and civility toward others while recognizing and embracing each individual’s dignity, freedom, and diversity even in the face of disagreement.

Honesty and Integrity: We will act and communicate truthfully and candidly. We will uphold the university’s values and make decisions based on the greater good, conducting ourselves free of personal conflicts or appearances of impropriety and self-dealing.

Communication: We will openly share information with stakeholders regarding the
processes used in developing policies and making decisions for the university.

Stewardship: We will use university resources in a wise and prudent manner in order to achieve our educational mission and strategic objectives. We will not use university resources for personal benefit or gain.

Excellence: We will conduct all university affairs diligently, exercising due professional care and striving to meet the high expectations we have set for ourselves as well as the expectations of those we serve.

Responsibility and Accountability: We will be trustworthy and answerable for our conduct, decisions and obligations and will comply with all applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures. We recognize our obligation to report unethical conduct to appropriate authorities.

Agora University offers online distance education programs that allow students access to their course work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the Internet. At Agora University, online courses are developed and primarily taught as any regular on-campus classes. The readings, assignments, and examinations mirror courses taught in an on-campus setting. These courses include structured and special instructional techniques to help you succeed as an online student. The course syllabus, outline, and schedule of assignments that students receive the first day of class are located in an online website devoted to the particular course. These items MUST be read initially, so that the online student understands the work load and requirements of the course. Students and instructors communicate initially before the beginning of the term, and then in online discussion forums where students communicate with each other about course work and respond to various topics posted by the instructor. Some courses include real-time instructional sessions where the students interact with their instructor and classmates at a scheduled time. Assignments are submitted electronically via email or the class website. Agora University’s courses are taught using an online course management system. This LMS (learning management system) is a user-friendly learning platform. The course management system has folders where instructors post course information, course materials and assignments for students to access with ease. At the conclusion of each course, students will complete an evaluation of the course, the instructor and the learning platform. This provides the necessary feedback to ensure that we maintain the quality that should be expected at the University.

Is distance education right for me?

distance learning is a great choice for many people, particularly those who are juggling a full-time job and family responsibilities as well. If you are interested in earning a degree or a certificate but commuting to a campus is not an option or if traditional campus classes do not fit into your busy schedule, then online learning may be right for you!

Succeeding as a distance learner:

A successful distance learner learns to:

  • Be comfortable using technology, computers and navigating the Internet.
  • Be self-disciplined and avoid procrastination.
  • Invest a minimum of 3 hours each week on each course.
  • Be very organized and manage time well.
  • Enjoy working independently.
  • Follow written instructions carefully.
  • Actively participate, share ideas and ask questions in online discussions

Online courses offer a large degree of convenience and flexibility, but it is important to note that these courses require the same level of commitment and effort as attending a class on campus.

How do I access the course materials?

Prior to the beginning of the semester you will receive an email from the Office of Admissions with course access information. This information will include your username and password. The learning platform can be accessed from our website at http://lms.agora.edu/.

Online course attendance:

Just as in face-to-face courses, attending your online course is important. Agora University expects all online students to participate in all instructional activities. Participation in an online course is defined differently than in a face-to face course. Student “attendance” in online courses will be defined as active participation in the course. Online courses will, at a minimum have weekly mechanisms for student participation, which can be documented by any or all of the following methods: student login through the learning platform course software, submission/completion of assignments, which would include discussion board, quizzes, etc., and communication with the instructor during assigned chat sessions and by phone, Zoom or email.

The work of all students at Agora University is reported in grade format. A final grade for each student registered in a course is assigned by instructors as required.

Graduate Courses

The following grades are used to report the quality of graduate student work at Agora University:

A         Superior Achievement

B         Satisfactorily demonstrated potentiality for professional achievement in field of study

C         Passed the course but without doing work indicative of potentiality for professional achievement in field of study

F          Fail

P          Pass (achievement at grade C level or better)

I           Incomplete

IP         In Progress

The grades A, B, and C may be augmented by a plus (+) or minus (-) suffix. The grades A, B, and P signify satisfactory progress toward the degree. Students may apply a C grade toward graduate degrees unless otherwise prohibited by the program requirements. However, courses in which a grade of C is received must be offset by higher grades in the same term for students to remain in good academic standing. A grade of F yields no unit nor course credit.

Grade Points

Grade points per unit are assigned by the Registrar as follows:

Letter GradePercentage RangeGPA
A+97-1004
A93-964
A-90-923.7
B+87-893.3
B83-863
B-80-822.7
C+77-792.3
C73-762
C-70-721.7
D+67-691.3
D63-661
D-60-620.7
FBelow 600

A plus (+) or minus (-) suffix added to a grade increases or decreases the grade-point value, except in the case of A+, which carries the same number of grade points as the A grade. Courses in which students receive a grade of P may count toward satisfaction of degree requirements, but these grades, as well as I and IP are disregarded in determining the grade-point average. (After the removal of an I grade and assignment of a letter grade, units and grade points are included in subsequent grade point averages.

Grade-Point Average

The grade-point average is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of units attempted. The total grade points earned for a course equals the number of grade points assigned times the number of course units. For example, if student takes three four –unit courses and receives grades of A-, B-, and C+, then the GPA for the term equals the total grade points (34.8) divided by the total course units (12). The GPA is 2.9. For satisfactory standing, students must maintain a B average (3.0 GPA).

Only grades earned at Agora University are calculated in the student’GPA. Grades earned at another institution do not affect the GPA at Agora University.

Incomplete Grades

Once a grade of Incomplete (I) is assigned, it remains on the transcript along with the passing grade students may later receive for the course. The instructor may assign the grade I when work is of passing quality but is incomplete for a good cause (such as illness or other serious problem). It is the student’s responsibility to discuss with the instructor the possibility of receiving an Incomplete as opposed to lower mark impacted by the Incomplete (to include an F grade).

If a grade of (I) is assigned, students may receive unit credit and grade points by satisfactorily completing the coursework as specified by the instructor. Students should not re-enroll in the course; if they do, it is recorded twice on the transcript. If the work is not completed within one year’s time, the I lapses to an F.

Correction of Grades

All grades except I are final when filed by the instructor in the end-of-term course report. After grades have been submitted, a grade change may be made only in case of a clerical or procedural error or other unusual circumstances. No grade may be revised by re-examination or, with the exception of grades of I, by completing additional work. Students who are dissatisfied with a grade should review their work with the instructor and receive an explanation of the grade assigned. All grade changes are recorded on the transcript.

On occasion, professors may opt to offer students an opportunity to sit an oral examination. The professor teaching the course will proctor the examination via Zoom (or similar platform) and utilize a rubric shared in common by all university courses for oral examinations. These rubrics serve as a direct means of measuring student achievement in accordance with course and program outcomes. The professor will be required to verify student identity through both video and audio activation of the online platform.

Instructors planning on offering oral examinations should include this policy on their syllabus and upload a blank copy of the oral exam rubric to the course module.

Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to graduate. student cannot graduate if there are any outstanding obligations to the University, such as Tuition fees. Students are considered graduates when the thesis has been completed, and diploma will be sent to the student. Formal Agora University graduation ceremonies will be held once year, for all students who completed the degree requirements since the previous ceremony. Attendance is not required.

Agora University admits students of any race, color, gender, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national and ethnic origin in its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships, and any other organization-administered programs.

Agora University recognizes that the protection of the rights of persons requires adherence to clearly formulated institutional policies governing the maintenance of student records. Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all students’ records shall be strictly enforced. Officers of administration, members of the faculty and staff of the University are bound to respect the rights of a student by holding in confidence information they acquire in the course of their work.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law which defines permanent educational records as files, documents and other recorded materials which contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by Agora University or a person acting in an official capacity for the University.

Educational records do not include those maintained by instructional, supervisory, administrative and educational personnel in the sole possession of information which is not accessible or revealed to any other person. Additionally, educational records do not include records of a student 18 years of age or older or those of a student attending an institution of post-secondary education that are created or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other recognized professional or paraprofessional personnel in connection with the provision of treatment to the student unless specifically requested by the student. Records of students as employees are not part of the education record unless the employment results from the employee’s status as a student. Educational records do not include alumni records.

The Registrar coordinates the inspection and review procedures for student records which include personal, academic and financial files as well as placement records. The FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. The right to inspect and review the student’s educational records within 45 days of the day the University receives an official request for access.

Students should submit to the Registrar a written request that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The Registrar will make arrangements for access with the custodian of the particular record and will notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

Official Agora University transcripts are released only when requested in writing by the student. There is a fee for each copy. Transcripts will not be released for students who have failed to meet their financial obligations to the University. The University will not allow transcripts from other institutions sent or delivered to Agora University to be copied or released to a student. Those documents must be requested from the originating institution. Students may have access to an unofficial transcript online by making a request through the Student Information System.

The right to request an amendment of the student’s educational records that he/she believes is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the Custodian responsible for the particular record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed in 100 words or less, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

The Custodian of the record will notify the student of its decision to amend the record or deny the student request. If denied, the student may choose to appeal the decision to the appropriate executive official.

Agora University may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA through what is known as directory information. FERPA regulations define “directory information” as information contained in an education record of a student that would not usually be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy. This generally includes a student’s name, address, telephone number, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, enrollment status (full/ part time, undergraduate or graduate), degrees, honors and awards received, other educational institutions attended and related information. Federal law (Solomon Amendment) also requires that institutions of higher education provide military recruiters the names, addresses, telephone numbers and birth dates of currently enrolled students.

A student may restrict the release of his/her directory information by making a request in writing to the Registrar within two weeks of the start of the first enrolled semester of the academic year. This request must be made on a yearly basis.

In certain situations, a student’s consent is not required to disclose educational information. These exceptions include;

  • to school officials who have legitimate educational interests;
  • to Federal, State, and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs;
  • to persons or organizations in connection with financial aid;
  • to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions;
  • to accrediting organizations;
  • to parents of students for violations of any law or institutional rule related to the possession of alcohol or controlled substance;
  • to comply with judicial order of subpoena
  • health or safety emergency
  • directory information;
  • to the students themselves;
  • results of disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence;
  • to the Attorney General of the United States in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes.

Requests to disclose educational information will always be handled with caution and approached on a case-by-case basis. The determination as to whether or not a legitimate educational interest exists will be made by the custodian of the records. When the custodian of the record has any question regarding the legitimacy of the request, the custodian should withhold disclosure unless consent of the student is obtained.

The following is a list of the types of records that the University maintains, their custodian and their appropriate executive official. 

Type of RecordCustodianAppropriate Executive Official
Academic RecordsRegistrarAcademic Dean
DisciplinaryAcademic DeanCEO
Financial AidDirector of FinanceCFO
PlacementRegistrarAcademic Dean
News ReleasesDirector of Public RelationsChancellor
Student AccountsDirector of FinanceCFO

**Agora University uses highly encrypted cloud-based servers to ensure the protection of student records. 

Agora University’s Records Retention policy establishes the types of University records and their retention period for records.  It is based upon legal and operational requirements and provides a framework for the life cycle management of University records. 

This policy is intended to assist the University in properly protecting and managing the records it needs to maintain, while eliminating the records that are no longer legally or operationally required. This will help to ensure that the University is following all applicable laws and regulations governing records retention and eliminating unnecessary records storage costs. 

This policy responds to the various local, state, and federal statutes and regulations and internal policies that apply to records retention. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Office of the Dean 

The Office of the Dean is responsible for identifying the academic records to be retained and determining the period of retention. The Office of the Dean must also make arrangements for the proper storage of the records and coordinate with outside vendors for that purpose, where appropriate. Finally, the Office of the Dean arranges for the handling of the disposal of records whose retention period has expired. 

Faculty Records: 

Agora University understands the necessity of maintaining the accuracy and confidentiality of faculty personnel records, and the importance of gathering and keeping records of employment history and performance for making informed personnel decisions. 

The Office of the Dean in collaboration with the Department of Human Resources maintain a faculty personnel record for each faculty member that includes, at a minimum, the following: 

  • Documentation verifying the faculty member’s highest earned degree that qualifies the faculty member for employment at the University
  • Curriculum vita
  • Annual certifications

The University receives the official transcripts directly from granting institutions by mail. The degrees are scanned and kept securely on Microsoft highly-encrypted SharePoint. The original transcripts are destroyed, and only the President, Dean, and Director of Human Resources have access to the digital files. 

Office of the CEO 

The Office of the CEO is responsible for providing guidance regarding the legal retention requirements for financial and administrative documents and coordinating document holds when litigation is ongoing, pending, threatened, or likely.  The University’s CEO will designate one or more individuals to serve as the point of contact. 

 

Who Should Know This Policy 

All University employees; All contractors who create, use, or store University records; All consultants who create, use, or store University records; All vendors who create, use, or store University records. 

Exclusions and Special Situations 

Any records relevant to pending or ongoing litigation, government investigation, or audit MUST BE RETAINED until such matters have been resolved, all appeals are exhausted, and the retention period has expired.  All disposal of relevant records must cease, including the disposal of records according to approved retention periods, when such a document hold is in place.  In cases where litigation is threatened or likely, consult the Office of the President to determine whether a litigation hold is required. 

Policy Definitions 

Definition of a Record: Records are documents and parts of documents contained on any media and in any format that: are made or received by the organization; provide evidence of its operations; document business decisions; and/or have value requiring their retention for a specific period of time. 

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Academic transcripts 
  • Letters, memoranda and correspondence 
  • Policies, procedures and methods 
  • Invoices and receipts 
  • Purchase orders, contracts and certificates 
  • Tax forms 
  • Data stored in computers, data processing equipment, and off-line media 
  • Computer programs and documentation 

Tuition Information and Refund Policy

I. Introduction:

This policy details the refund of student charges which include both tuition payments and other university fees (i.e. Application Fee, Technology Fee, Library Fee, Graduation Fee).

II. General Definitions:

Tuition: Charge for instruction including course content, textbooks, educational services, and instructional materials. This charge is billed 14 days before the beginning of a course.
Application Fee: This fee is required at the time of submitting an online application for admission. This fee is non-refundable.

Technology Fee: This fee is associated with supporting and maintenance of the technological services offered to students including the Learning Management System (LMS), the Student Information System (SIS), and the Student email account. This fee is billed once a year and is due at the beginning of every year. This fee is refundable as per the refund schedule detailed below.

Library Fee: This fee is associated with all library services offered by the University including subscription to electronic databases (i.e. LIRN, Ebscohost, JSTOR, ProQuest, etc.). This fee also includes subscription to the Virtual Librarian services to support student library requests 7 days a week. This fee is billed once a year and is due at the beginning of every year. This fee is non-refundable.

Graduation Fee: This fee is associated with processing documents (i.e. Diplomas, Transcripts, etc.) post-graduation. This fee is billed only at the successful completion of our programs after the student has completed all graduation requirements and has been approved by the office of the Registrar for graduation without having any academic or financial holds on their record. This fee is non-refundable.

Regular MTS Student: A student who is registered in 6 credit hours per term. This student is expected to finish the Master’s program (MTS) in 2 years.
Regular Certificate Student: A student who is registered in at least 3 credit hours per term. This student is expected to finish the Certificate program in 1 year.

Regular Certificate Student: A student who is registered in at least 3 credit hours per term. This student is expected to finish the Certificate program in four semesters.

Auditing Student: A student who is registered in a single course and participates in the course in which no assessment of student work is graded. University fees do not apply to auditing students. Audit students pay their tuition. Upon a change of status from being an auditing student to a regular student, Library and Technology fees will be billed to the student account.

Discount Groups: A special reduced rate applied to tuition charges (does not apply to University fees), which is extended to an organization or corporation who has signed a partnership agreement with the University.

III. Provisions applicable to ALL programs:

1. Adjustment of University Scholarships:

  1. Scholarships:
    In the case of a refund processed per the schedule listed below, University scholarships are adjusted proportionally to the tuition charges incurred. This does not include any University Fees, only tuition charges. For example, if a student’s tuition is reduced by fifty (50) percent, that student’s University scholarship will also be reduced by fifty (50) percent.

2. Methods of Payment:

  • Tuition and university fees can be paid electronically online via Credit Card in USD through the Student Information System (Populi Web). Invoices are generated by the Accounting Office and sent 14 days prior to the start of a course and is due for payment 7 days prior to the course start date. Invoices are available on the SIS for the fastest, most secure, and convenient way for students to make payments online. The SIS notifies students of an invoice by sending an automated email.
  • For students residing in Egypt, cash payments in USD can be made through the University’s partner in Egypt, the Alexandria School Foundation. For more information, please contact admissions@agora.edu
  • Students may also contact the Accounting Office to arrange payment via Wire Transfer using the following details:
    • Wells Fargo Bank Account Number: 1227255559
    • Account Name: Agora University
    • SWIFT/BIC code WFBIUS6S
    • Wire Transfers (Domestic): 121000248
  • Students may choose to make their tuition payments based on a payment plan setup with the Office of Finance, and suitable to the length of the program they are admitted to. Please note that no student is able to graduate unless they have satisfied all their financial obligations to the University.

3. Cancellation and Withdrawal:

  1. Charges may be refunded if a student cancels their enrollment or withdraws from a course. Cancellation or withdrawal requests should be made in writing by sending an email to the Registrar at registrar@agora.edu. Refunds will be issued using the same method of payment within 30 days from the date the University receives the student’s withdrawal request. No tuition refunds will be issued if a student has not submitted a cancellation/withdrawal request. Tuition and fees cannot be carried over to the next semester.
  2. A student requesting cancellation of their enrollment within 7 calendar days after signing an enrollment agreement is entitled to a full refund of all tuition and fees paid except the Application Fee.
  3. A student requesting cancellation more than 7 calendar days after signing an enrollment agreement, but prior to beginning a course, is entitled to a refund of all tuition and fees paid minus: (i) the application fee and (ii) the library fee.
  4. A student requesting to withdraw from a course after the course has begun is eligible for a refund of tuition and fees paid in accordance to the schedule in section 3.2.5.
  5. Agora University will issue a full refund of the tuition charges for courses that have been canceled by the University.

IV. Tuition and University Fees Structure:

A. Tuition for all HTC Students:

Charge2023/2024 Academic Year
Tuition per Credit Hour$222.22 Per Credit Hour
Application Fee (non-refundable)$50
Technology Fee (per year)$100
Library Fee (per year)$100

Graduation Fee (one-time after graduation)

**Please note that students requesting a European Union Degree through UCAM will be charged a non-refundable processing fee of $450

$50

V. Refund Schedule for Tuition and Fees for all programs and all students:

A. Refund Schedule for 2023/2024 for all HTC Students:

DeadlinePercentage of Tuition RefundedApplication FeeTechnology Fee*Library FeeGraduation Fee
Before Week 1100%Non-Refundable100%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Week 1-3100%Non-Refundable100%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Start of 4th Week50%Non-Refundable50%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Start of 5th Week40%Non-Refundable40%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Start of 6th Week30%Non-Refundable30%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Start of 7th Week20%Non-Refundable20%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Start of 8th Week10%Non-Refundable10%Non-RefundableNon-Refundable
Start of 9th Week0% (No Refund)Non-Refundable0% (No Refund)Non-RefundableNon-Refundable

* Note: The Technology Fee refund is proportional to the total credits eligible to be taken during the year. For example, if the Technology Fee is $100 per year, and the regular student load is 18 credits per year, then the Technology Fee per credit hour is $5.56.

VI. Exceptions:

Employees of the Alexandria School Foundation, a strategic partner of Agora University, may receive an additional 30% discount on the tuition rate if they if they do not participate in any need-based scholarship.

VII. Sample Refund Calculation for Full-time and Part-time students in ALL Programs:

Refund Percentage: 40%

Tuition Charge: $222.22 x 6 credit hours = $1333.32

Technology Fee Charge per year: $100

Technology Fee divided by number of credit hours per year: Assuming 18 credit hours per year for this sample calculation, the total Technology Fee for 1 credit hours is $5.56: $5.56 x 6 credit hours = $33.36

Total tuition and fees paid: $1,433.32

Refund: ($1333.32 + $33.36) x 40% = $546.67

Refund: $105 x 40% = $42

1- Need-Based Scholarship

Need-based Scholarships are awarded solely based on the applicant’s financial needs according to specific income brackets. The application process for this scholarship requires submission of the student’s proof of income. The Need-based scholarship awarded will only cover tuition costs and not any administrative or application costs. Please note that awards are offered on a first come first served basis and are subject to the availability of funds for the current academic year. Additionally, Need-based Aid cannot be applied in addition to any other corporate or group discounts or any other Scholarships offered by Agora.

The current total tuition for the Master of Theological Studies program is $8000. The Bishop Epiphanius Scholarship offers a need-based fund and is awarded to applicants interested in pursuing the Master of Theological Studies or the Certificate Programs and are facing financial needs.

Definition

· Student Income: The combined income of the student and his/her spouse.

Types of Aid

1. Grants which do not need to be repaid.

2. Work-study: part-time employment opportunities of a financial value equivalent to the awarded scholarship amount.

How to Apply

Complete the financial aid application, fill in all the sections, and upload all the required documents. Missing information or documents are not accepted and will be deemed incomplete.

Application Requirements:

· Applicants may not be younger than twenty-two (22) years of age during the year they are applying, unless otherwise approved by the Committee.

· Applicant must be admitted to the Master or Certificate Programs. Proof of such acceptance/enrolment (in the form of a Letter of Acceptance or a current transcript) must be submitted along with the completed Scholarship Application.

· Applicant must be applying on a need-based status.

· Applicant must submit all application requirements and maintain an average of 3.0 GPA in all studies.

· The application will solicit information about Church-related Services and will request a personal handwritten response to a question of a thought-provoking nature.

Eligibility

To be eligible and continue receiving our need-based scholarship, you are required:

  • To be enrolled in our Master or Certificate programs.
  • Not to be on academic probation.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative grade of B.
  • To submit the last 3-months payment slip/ HR letter stating your monthly salary and all other variables (bonus, profit share and similar).
  • To submit the last 3-months bank statement.
  • To demonstrate financial need by providing any of the following or similar supporting documents:
    • Expenses like rental contract
    • Loans or instalment statements
    • Retired parents and official pension letters
  • Updated CV/Resume
  • Pastoral Reference letter

Need-Based Aid Income Qualification Brackets

  1. For a student income of $6,250/year to $2,900/year, the need-based aid package is 88% scholarship on tuition fees.
  2. For a student income of $2,899/year or less, the need-based aid package is 90% scholarship on tuition fees.

Special Circumstances

Sometimes, financial situations change after aid has been awarded. If this is the case, students may appeal to the Director of Admissions for a re-evaluation of their aid package. There are no guarantees that additional aid may be available at the time of the re-evaluation.

 

2- Merit-Based Scholarship

This is a form of financial assistance that is given based on the candidates’ skills and academic accomplishments.

The scholarship awarded will only cover tuition costs and not any administrative or application costs. Please note that awards are offered on a first come first served basis and are subject to the availability of funds for the current academic year. Additionally, Merit-based Aid cannot be applied in addition to any other corporate or group discounts or any other Scholarships offered by Agora.

How to Apply

Complete the scholarship application, fill all the sections, and upload all the required documents. Missing information or documents is not accepted and will be deemed incomplete

Eligibility

To be eligible for our Merit-based scholarship, you are required:

  • To be enrolled in our Master program
  • Not to be on probation and maintain a minimum cumulative grade of B.
  • To submit the last 3-month payment slip/ HR letter stating your monthly salary and all other variables (bonus, profit share and similar)
  • To hold a bachelor’s degree
  • To submit an official transcript with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • To have shown incredible extracurricular activities
  • To Submit an updated Resume/CV

Clergy-members ministry-based aid

For clergy members (bishops, priests, and monks) there might be additional ministry-based aid available through the Bishop Epiphanius Merit-based fund. For further information, please contact the Director of Admissions

Agora University expects each student to use social media responsibly and respectfully in ways that reflect the moral and ethical guidelines set forth by Agora University. Agora University is primarily an online institution, therefore, all courses and instructional materials and correspondence is conducted online. Please check your email account daily. We know life is busy, nonetheless, failure to be aware of updated policies, procedures or other information does not relieve you from responsibility or obligation.

Solicitation

Students, staff or outsiders may not sell to or survey the University community.

Students should refer media inquiries to the Public Relations office which reports to the Office of the Chancellor, which can answer questions accurately and speak officially for Agora University. Students are not to release information or grant interviews to the news media without first checking with the Public Relations office or being asked by that office to do so. In addition, students are not to speak for the University on social media.

Agora University’s Student Identity Verification Policy is in compliance with the requirements set forth by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA). The HEOA requires that institutions offering online education have processes in place to ensure that the student registering for a course is the same student who participates in the course or receives course credit. The Act requires that institutions use one of the following three methods:

  • A secure login and pass code;
  • Proctored examinations; or
  • New or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.

Student ID and Password

All students registered for coursework at Agora University are provided with a secure user ID and password. Access to online courses is controlled by the use of the secure User ID and password.

Learning Management System (Populi)

Agora University uses Populi as its Learning Management System. Students access the LMS with their unique Student ID and Password.  The unique User ID and password are used to verify that a student who registers for an online course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program.

The small faculty to student ratio ensures close interaction between students and faculty and the ability of faculty to manage student identity via for any sudden change in academic performance, change in writing style, online discussions, or email inquiries. More importantly, constant contact between the students and faculty by phone, Skype, or other technological means assures the faculty of the student’s identity.

Students enrolled in courses at Agora University are responsible for providing complete and true information in any identity verification process.

Verification of Identity

All students submit a personal photograph and a government-issued photo ID at the time of admission. Staff and Faculty verify the identity of all students using Zoom for interviews, online lectures, academic advising and general inquiry live video sessions.

This policy was established to aid in the planning of computer purchase(s) throughout the completion of the Agora University programs.

The University strongly recommends that students entering our programs have appropriate and updated mid-range consumer-grade laptop. Students should consider using a laptop that is already owned or another existing computer if possible. If you do not have access to a laptop already and must purchase a new one we have some recommendations below.Again, please note that if you already have a laptop it does not need to meet the specifications below. These specifications are only for people who don’t already have access to a laptop and must purchase a new one. Some courses in the university may require a more robust system, so be sure to verify any class/software requirements before making a purchase. The College will update these specifications on an annual or biannual basis to match advances in software and hardware requirements.

Example minimum hardware specs:

  • Intel ® Core™ i5 (4 cores recommended)
  • 4GB Memory
  • 256GB Hard Drive
  • 15.6′′ HD Widescreen LED Display
  • Wireless Network Adapter
  • Microphone
  • Webcam

Software Requirements:

  • Operating System of Choice (i.e.. Windows or Mac)
  • Word Processor of Choice (ex. Microsoft Word)

You must have access to a computer connected to the internet. Dial-up connections will be sufficient for most classes, but a few classes have video materials, which will display better if you have a DSL or cable connection. You may use any of the common browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari. Most of our course lectures are in PDF format. There is a link to three free PDF readers on our public information page. The PDF pages are designed for full-size computers; tablets may provide an adequate display, but the materials may be difficult to read on smaller devices. We require that you have a word-processing program, such as Microsoft Word. Free word-processing programs are also suitable. We require that you also have a webcam with a microphone, for identity verification and live sessions. Your internet connection must be able to transmit video.

Students cannot be admitted without these technologies available. Should they lose access, they may request an incomplete (see Incomplete Policy) or a leave of absence, otherwise they shall be dropped from the program.

Student records are confidential. The University cannot process a transcript request unless we receive a signed request or an online request through the Student Information System. Outstanding obligations to the University, such as Tuition fees, must be reconciled prior to release of student transcripts. Send all requests to the Registrar and include instructions on where the transcript should be mailed. We will retain your academic records permanently. You are allowed one free transcript for your own records.

You may request official transcripts by visiting https://agora.populiweb.com. Official Agora University transcripts are released only when requested in writing or online through the Student Information System by the student. There is a fee for each copy. Transcripts will not be released for students who have failed to meet their financial obligations to the University. The University will not allow transcripts from other institutions sent or delivered to Agora University to be copied or released to a student. Those documents must be requested from the originating institution. Students may have access to an unofficial transcript online by making a request through their portals on Populi account.

Agora University may consider for transfer coursework completed at accredited institutions of post-secondary education whose accrediting agencies are recognized by the European Union or by an agency recognized by CHEA. Only coursework completed at a C average or better may be considered for transfer after a review by, and at the discretion of the Dean. Students will need to provide a transcript for all accredited coursework taken and indicate a desire to transfer coursework before enrolling in the current term. A maximum of 50% of graduate coursework can be transferred. A minimum of 50% of graduate coursework must be undertaken at Agora University.

Coursework earned at a non-accredited institution may be submitted for review with an official transcript and course descriptions. Coursework earned at non-accredited institutions will be considered on a case by case basis by the Academic Dean. In most cases, refusal to transfer work will be based on content or academic standards incompatible with the courses required for graduation at Agora University.

Please note that Agora University courses might not be transferable to other institutions. It is only at the discretion of the receiving institution to make that decision.

Agora University is registered in the United States with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, Tax-ID number 45-2832530.

Agora University is a religious institution exempt from state regulation and oversight in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Contact Us
Address: 9253 Old Keene Mill Rd, Burke, VA 22015

Fax: +1 (202) 930-7909